If you are visiting Ashtabula in Ohio, then this book will be an amazing aid while you journey around the county to the different covered bridges. TheIf you are visiting Ashtabula in Ohio, then this book will be an amazing aid while you journey around the county to the different covered bridges. The author does a great job of listing facts and interesting information about each structure, and somewhere in between his descriptions, you start to develop a deep appreciation and respect for the (almost) lost art of these covered bridges.
Unfortunately for the reader, the book uses paper stock that feels a little on the cheap side, and the photographs are all in black and white even though they seem to have been meant for color. So something feels lost in the delivery here. I'm sure the decision was made because of financial constraints, but you can't present art well on a low budget. Make these photos full page on some large color glossy paper, and this could have been a beautiful coffee table book.
Also, the author sometimes takes bullet point facts and translates them into a loose series of sentences. I wasn't expecting a Pulitzer, but the flatness often makes this feel like a glorified pamphlet for the bridges in the area. And perhaps, that is the objective: to stir interest in potential visitors and to help those who have come.
If that was the goal, then consider it is a success. As even though Ashtabula is not Madison county, if I ever find myself near the area, I will now detour and become a tourist for awhile....more
This book is great and really should be read by anyone with even the slightest interest in how the pendulum of politics swings. That is was authored oThis book is great and really should be read by anyone with even the slightest interest in how the pendulum of politics swings. That is was authored over 50 years ago makes this not so much a political book-although it could still be seen as that-but rather a historical timepiece for what it meant to be a conservative in 1960, and how that political history relates to today. From there you can reflect about the fundamentals of the belief system, how it handled the issues of the day, and about how much the conscience, for all sides, changes with time.
Initially I was surprised that Goldwater's lines aren't referenced more often in the conservative rhetoric today, for example "... man's political freedom is illusory if he is dependent for his economic needs on the State." What a poignant way to state a such a strong belief.
As you read on though, your head will tilt as all of the sudden you start to see complete contradictions of what are considered conservative values today. "I see no reason for labor unions-or corporations-to participate in politics. Both were created for economic purposes and their activities should be restricted accordingly." That only individuals "and individuals alone," should be able to make political contributions; that's not even left for today, that's far far left.
Read further and you'll see that although his insight on states' rights is strong, he uses civil rights as the crux (which, with the hindsight we now have, is probably about the worst issue he could have picked to use for his argument). That states should have the right to segregate, that the Brown decision was constitutionally wrong, that forcing integration won't work. As a reader with the luxury of decades of time away, you are able to analyze a constitutional purist from far more than just a philosophical perspective.
So that's why this book is great, it's not about who is right or wrong (although you'll find many ironies), it's about reflection. That these monolithic values all sides protest are not just pliable, but glacial: the more time passes, the more they move-albeit quite slowly.
You start to see the sides of politics as just people with simple views that are only mere reflections of the general public sentiment at the time. The last chapter, which spans nearly 1/3 of the book, is about how Communism is an enemy bound to destroy us and that we must take offensive action to eradicate it. If you want to skip that chapter due to a lack of relevance for today, just replace the word Communism with Immigration, or Terrorism from 10 years ago, and that should bring his words up to the 21st century.
Books like these can be polarizing though, so if you already have your 1 or 5 star rating ready after reading the title, it may not be for you. A level of neutrality and analysis is needed to appreciate this one.
For what it's worth, Goldwater would probably be considered more of a libertarian today, and if he could redefine (i.e. change) some of the values he wrote, he probably would; I would further guess that 54 years from now, in 2070, he'd probably want to do another re-vision of his conscience as well....more
Dubus has tapped into something with this memoir that can only be described with one word: brilliant. Through his reflection you are taken into a lifeDubus has tapped into something with this memoir that can only be described with one word: brilliant. Through his reflection you are taken into a life of poverty filled with an absent father, a trying mother, and a weak body; a family who would like to be wholesome, but does not have the right tools. The father lacks the discipline needed to properly parent, and his distance, his selfishness, makes him feel like a shadow, and it's this caricature, among many other failures, that haunt Dubus for years.
The neighborhood they are left in, which should really be called a hell hole, is fit only as a breeding ground for hate and malice. This neighborhood, not unique to Boston, is the type where the predators lead, the strong kill, and where everyone else gets called a cunt. Where violence, through fists, knives, and the occasional gun, is paramount for survival. Lofty notions like reason and law, peace and compassion, are so distant that the very idea of them is laughable.
The poignancy of Dubus's words and his journey are beautiful though. As the reader, you feel the violence and the rage down to your marrow, where the blood is made. And it's this blood-or membrane, as he likes to reference-that shapes his life.
When you see Dubus transform himself from prey to predator, from weak to tough, when he tastes blood and realizes that he likes it, it scares him. His writing is so good, that it will probably scare you too.
It is not until his 20s that he finds a more fitting outlet in his life, a tool that is more intrinsic with his DNA: the pen. Writing becomes his meditation, his relaxation, his therapy; and it is through this therapeutic motion that you become a witness to his growth-from boy, to monster, to man.
Dubus leaves nothing out, and is able to capture the alpha male violent dominance that plagues the world. He writes it better than anyone else because this book is not from an ethnographer's voyeuristic observation of a culture, this book, this hell, was his life.
It starts off callously, with a soulless cataloging of events that were not engaging, and as a reader, you may want to abandon; but if you tread on, you understand the hardness, the lack of emotion; that it doesn't exist in those pages initially not because Dubus lacks the ability to capture feeling, but because for large parts of his childhood he had none, he couldn't, he needed to survive.
This book is a deep look into the human condition, when that condition is given some of the worst life can offer. It is perhaps the best portrait of violence that has ever been captured in words. A concept, that even if you have no interest in, is done so well that you can't help but be in awe, and can't help but feel disturbed.
Side note: Near the end Dubus references one of the last conversations he had with his father, and in this conversation there is a boxing match that evening that their discussion revolves around. Except in reality, the night of this boxing match, which gets interjected into their conversation several times, does not happen until 7 months after his father has passed away. Perhaps Dubus was just capturing the essence of the conversation and used a different setting, but regardless, I think the impossibility of the time line, and the easy manner in which it is to check, is worth mentioning....more
Entertaining, but light on substance of the actual topic at hand (that being the one promoted in the title). The majority of the book is spent on theEntertaining, but light on substance of the actual topic at hand (that being the one promoted in the title). The majority of the book is spent on the human interest component of the author himself, becoming a Navy Seal and operating as one, and in this area, the book is an extreme success.
It was engaging, interesting, and insightful, seeing just the type of work and discipline it took to elevate to his level. The honesty that the author provides, specifically in dealing with his missteps, is not only intriguing, it's just good writing, bringing the reader into his world in a way where everyone can relate and empathize with his life and emotions. The editors succeeded in giving him a well rounded voice that had fluidity throughout. Others have commented on the poor writing this book has, but I disagree; Mark Owen is not kin to Mark Twain (or perhaps I should say Matt Bissonnette is not kin to Samuel Clemens), and the intent of this book is not to be great literature, but rather popular non-fiction (i.e. for the masses); and just because it's light and easy does not mean it's poor and disheveled-they published a good book here.
As for the sub-title of the book, The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden, this is what the book is light on-at least in terms of providing new information, or as the author says, to set the story straight. It's no surprise that there isn't much straightening going on in these chapters. I'm sure everyone expected this, but still, the bait and switch technique of a publisher/author is always obnoxious, especially when you were just pounded with scores of pages about honor and integrity.
The only major downside is the end where the author makes tacky comments that only put stains on his character. He mocks others, including former SEALs, for sharing information about this stealth group, to those seeking capital or other gain off of exploiting it; all fair points, unless of course you just wrote a book doing the same thing. He disrespectfully patronizes the founder of his specialized group for saying that a personality component of this elite squad is to be an egomaniac, all while, again, forgetting that he just wrote a book about himself. He brushes off his personal visit from the President, not even remembering his words or wanting to sign a flag; I guess he's trying to look cool here, but that was hardly my take away. And of course, the original release date of this book was September 11th, hardly an honorable choice to agree to, but luckily for him, it was bumped up a week due to the press it was receiving....more
This book was seemingly authored as a side project, or maybe as an ancillary idea, to the research that Wilson and his colleagues were doing in AfricaThis book was seemingly authored as a side project, or maybe as an ancillary idea, to the research that Wilson and his colleagues were doing in Africa. The intent of bringing more attention to the Gorongosa National Park seems to be noble, but unfortunately for the reader, this intent was not written under the setting of being a primary objective, and therefore, suffers from an extreme lack of structure that lacks fluidity throughout.
Light historical information on the region, obscure in-depth analysis of various insects, anecdotal remarks on animal behavior, small and random facts about the ecosystem, a few diary entries-if the goal was to create a scrapbook of their research trip, then this was a successful, otherwise, this falls quite short of any literary goal.
The author's passion for the subject and this region are impressive, and the pictures are beautiful, but that does not translate into a well constructed work of non-fiction. That's not to say it was atrocious; it most certainly was not, and it did not turn me away from the subject, but when closing a book if the phrase "not atrocious" comes to mind, then it was probably at least disappointing, and this was.
I'd recommend renting this (includes a DVD I haven't watched yet) or purchasing it as a coffee table book....more
What a disappointment. I was expecting the same well articulated data driven positions from Gore that I have read from Clinton, but that is not at allWhat a disappointment. I was expecting the same well articulated data driven positions from Gore that I have read from Clinton, but that is not at all what I got. Unfortunately, this is just your standard biased political soapbox with its usual contradictions within.
He criticizes television since the barrier of entry is so high, but then praises the nostalgic days of the printing presses (as if those were easy to buy), and his entire point could have just been summed up with the already well known quote, "freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." He bashes the fear that these new political agenda programs promote, and then later in the books distills his own fears about where things will be headed under Bush (to a totalitarian government), and how a study shows that TV in children essentially turns them into drones whose behavior is then directly correlated to the political ads they see on it. He lionizes the founding fathers and their infinite wisdom and high political character, and then criticizes gerrymandering, a word created after the politician most known for it, Elbridge Gerry, who is also one of the signers of the declaration of independence. He questions where fairness and neutrality have gone, and then offers none in his own book.
It's not a matter of disagreement or agreement, this was just a poor presentation of (mostly unoriginal) ideas. He criticizes his opponents of bias and spinning information, and then in the next breath he does it himself. Some interesting thoughts in here, but overall this book falls short, especially in comparison to works from his closest colleague....more
Some of the information is fascinating, essentially covering the actions of idle people in urban settings and how open space can be designed to influeSome of the information is fascinating, essentially covering the actions of idle people in urban settings and how open space can be designed to influence their behavior; other information is a bit dull or outdated (e.g. the romanticizing of street performers, the photos).
The underlying question of the book (feels like anyways), can cats be herded? Turns out, with proper design, we can.
Given its length (i.e. short), it seems worth the time for anyone with either a passing interest in sociology or urban design....more
If you're into food books, then this one is not only worth your time to read, but should be part of your library too. If you're a casual reader aboutIf you're into food books, then this one is not only worth your time to read, but should be part of your library too. If you're a casual reader about the food industry, then you might find this one in too much of a niche or potentially boring.
I personally enjoyed her writing style and didn't find it academic; if anything, I was surprised by how quickly she bounced around and wondered if her colleagues might frown on the non-exhaustive presentation of the topic. So finding it stuffy or not seems to be relative to the reader based on what else they've read, but in comparison to other books from academic publishers, I felt that this one was extremely enjoyable and easy to read.
Hamilton has done a great job at presenting the evolution of orange juice, specifically in America circa 1960 until today, but what sets this book apart from the standard "look at how much processing is done to your allegedly fresh food" book, is the inclusion of excerpts and summaries of hearings that happened with the citrus industry and the FDA in the 1960s.
This trial feels like an invaluable part of the FDA history as it sets the tone for how this regulating body will manage and deal with industries for decades to come. So ignoring orange juice completely, if you're looking for a resource about the FDA, then this book provides (seemingly) a resource (6,000 pages of trial hearings) that was lost until Hamilton discovered it in an obscure citrus museum maintained by a Florida University. Sadly, as you will learn in the introduction, this resource is so scare that no one seems to have it, and worse, it may have been ruined since the publication of this book. (The university closed the museum after the curator passed, and what happened to the documents within this museum is unknown.)
As for Orange Juice, if you don't want to read the book and are only interested in the bullet points about its processing, here are the main summary points about juice that is labeled 100% fresh orange juice from Florida oranges:
Orange juice that is labeled 100%, only has to be 90% (seriously?), so your juice may contain other stuff; tangerine juice was mentioned as a supplement.
Frozen concentrate is probably only heated once, while fresh-squeezed orange juice is probably heated twice. The reason for the additional heating process is that fresh-squeezed orange juice can be stored in large tanks (due to seasonal supply and demand) and the juice is heated up prior to going into the tanks, and again when leaving the tanks for packaging. So in an ironic twist, this makes fresh-squeezed more processed than frozen concentrate (frozen is just heated once).
Heat is good because it kills any potential harmful bacteria, but bad because it breaks down and ruins the juice, so the more you heat it, the more you have to do to it to get it back to tasting like normal orange juice (or what people are accustom to believing that taste is).
Juice that is heated twice, which would be some of the most processed juice available, can be, and is, labeled "gently pasteurized." The word "gently" is extremely misleading. (Neat trivia: the word "pasteurized" has to be in a font no smaller than 50% of the size of the phrase "orange juice" on a carton; if the brand Simply Orange were to append the word "juice" to their large logo, they would either have to drastically increase the word "pasteurized" on their jug or reduce the size of their logo.)
Prior to going into orange juice tanks, the juice has to be broken down for long term storage, where, depending on the market supply and demand, it may stay for up to a year (I'm still only talking about fresh-squeezed orange juice by the way).
While it is in the tanks, it not drinkable as orange juice, since many of the components have been removed for the storage process; at this stage, it is described as sugar water.
When the orange juice is ready to come out of the tanks to be sent to market, it must first be seasoned with a flavor pack, so that it tastes like orange juice (or what consumers believe that to be).
The flavor pack is what orange juice manufactures live and die by, and is what gives certain brands their distinct flavor (e.g. Minute Maid tastes more like candy).
The flavor packs can come from flavor companies. These companies use components of the orange, such as the peel, to derive flavor and oil from the orange. Other additional components are unknown (e.g. synthetic flavoring); regulation is unknown, but seemingly non-existent. Since these are made by 3rd party companies, the orange juice manufacturer may not be able to conclusively say to the consumer (even if they wanted to) what is in their flavor pack, since the orange juice manufacturer does not have specific oversight of the development process of the pack (potentially willingly).
Although the flavor pack is supposed to only contain components from the oranges of the country/state of origin that is listed on the carton, it does not seem plausible that this is the case given that the flavor companies source oranges from all over the world. So if the orange juice says it's from Florida, it's probably deriving its flavor from components of oranges of unknown origins-most likely Brazil-but since other countries grow oranges, and since their environmental conditions (i.e. pesticide usage) are either unknown or unregulated, it additionally raises the question of what else is inadvertently in the flavor pack.
So as a consumer, when you buy a carton that only says "100% premium fresh-squeezed gently-pasteurized Florida orange juice," it could just be broken down sugar water that was stored for up to a year, heated twice with a flavor pack mixed in, and in that flavor pack are some natural elements from oranges (from all around the world-not just Florida), and, well, we're not sure what else-oh, and up to 10% of it may a completely different juice or substance.
If you're looking to buy juice that a normal person (not a committee in charge of food labeling) would classify as "100% fresh squeezed orange juice," you won't be able to based on the label. This defeats the whole purpose of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990: to inform the consumer of what's in the box.
A company trying to minimize what consumers know is obnoxious, and hardly ground breaking journalism, still, that doesn't mean it should be ignored, and since the publication of this book, there seems to be quite a bit online about flavor packs and orange juice processing. Some companies have officially responded, some have not (or I couldn't find them).
Reading their responses in tandem with this book should allow you to make an educated decision about the product....more
The amount of information covered is extremely impressive and is what makes this an invaluable resource to start with; but that's all it should be: aThe amount of information covered is extremely impressive and is what makes this an invaluable resource to start with; but that's all it should be: a starting point.
Every history book has its flaws-lionizing events and people, taking the known out of context, presenting information in too narrow a view, sanitizing reality-and this text is no different.
What does makes this 700+ page reference book different though, is that it's written to be readable in a cover-to-cover fashion if one chooses to do so. I did choose this route, and found it very rewarding.
Also, I compared a 2003 edition with the latest 2010 edition, and could not find any major difference (or any) until the end. In the 2003 edition, he had a beautifully written personal account of his immediate experience after September 11th.
As he drives across the country to return home to his family, Davis poignantly captures, and re-lives, the history of hate in America. He illustrates through the somber titles of events he passes, that violence, terrorism, and apathy, have always been juxtaposed with the threads of liberty and equality in the fabric of American History. Unfortunately, this powerful and moving account is omitted from the 2010 edition, and instead just a few dozen new pages are appended about the history of America since the prior edition....more
Well written, easy to read, but mostly common sense ideas about the new importance of product reviews and information over days of the past when brandWell written, easy to read, but mostly common sense ideas about the new importance of product reviews and information over days of the past when branding and pretty advertisements held more weight.
Some gaping holes: This book assumes reviews are a quality gauge for others, but he ignores the demographics of the reviewers themselves. He mentions Yelp several times, but the #1 seafood restaurant in Chicago according to Yelp is at Navy Pier, which is a tourist trap; the #1 steak restaurant is a part of a chain; and the #1 diner is a nondescript greasy spoon in a post (or presently in) college neighborhood.
That happens, presumably, because if you're a tourist on vacation, you absolutely love the fish you had near the lake; and the fillet you had on your anniversary dinner, which perhaps may be one of the few times you splurge on a steak, does taste like 5 stars; and if you're in your early 20s, the morning after diner probably does in fact taste like some of the best food you've ever had.
Unfortunately, for everyone else who does not fall into these minorities, these reviews-and their rankings-are near meaningless.
He also makes a few statements that seem to be off base in regards to the iPads success. He mentions how users care about the importance of features, but this seems to be false as the mantra of Apple with mobile products has always been about usability. The first iPod was bashed by popular tech review sites since it didn't include any of the fancy features of the competitors (e.g. wifi), but these reviewers completely missed the boat in regards to the commercial success of the product; again, this was because the demographics of the reviewers (hard core tech people) were not emblematic of most end users (people who just want simple products that work).
So there are flaws like that in the book, nothing crazy, but kind of odd for them to be there. The original (common sense) hypothesis still holds plenty of water, but if you're seeking a deep discussion on the topic, you'll need other material to supplement.
So would I recommend this book? Well, it depends on whom you are (this is the very topic that the author missed). If you read a lot of business/marketing books, at most a skim or a refresher on a specific area may be useful, but overwhelmingly, I would say pass on this.
However, if this is your first experience with a business book, then you will probably find far more value in it....more
A nice little concise book on the history of salmon.
No real political stand point on anything, mostly because the book is a historical presentation oA nice little concise book on the history of salmon.
No real political stand point on anything, mostly because the book is a historical presentation of the evolution of this fish and its market, but it does briefly mention farmed and wild salmon in addition to the-most likely to be released-genetically modified AquaAdvantage Salmon.
If you're a person who is interested in this fish, whether it's to learn more about what you eat or to just understand the evolution of food processing with fish, then this book is definitely worth your time. ...more